Merritt Island NWR Visit

Tuesday April 27th 2021

After a slow start to the day I got motivated around noon. My destination was the Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve. The sea breeze is keeping the temperature down making today a great day to tour in the reserve.

The Merritt Island NWR is across the Indian River from Titusville. It encompasses land that is also part of the Canaveral National Seashore and the Kennedy Space Center. It is usually a good place to see birds, gators and manatee. Today was usual. The reserve is working under confusing pandemic precautions. The visitors center is only open Friday to Sunday in a tent in the parking lot. The nature trail at the visitors center was open today, but I saw more people than wildlife.

The manatee viewing area at the Haulover Canal is currently closed. It is unclear if it is for maintenance or COVID reasons. I saw signs that indicated both reasons. The boat launch area on the other side of the drawbridge from the viewing area was full of empty boat trailers. Most of the boats were probably in the canal. There were a lot of people fishing in the canal, although I didn’t see anything caught.

Brown Pelican

I didn’t drive the seven mile Black Point wildlife drive today. In the past I’ve seen alligators and lots of different bird species on the drive. I’ll make the drive another day while I’m in the area. Overall I was surprised at the lack of birds. I saw a couple some pelicans and a couple of egrets, but I didn’t see any herons or ducks. One of the birds I thought was an egret turned out to have brown color coloring on its back when I looked at the picture I took. Now I’m wondering if its something else.

Egret?

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